Since the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published their final ELD Mandate in 2015 the trucking industry has been slowly switching to comply. Not everyone was a fan of these new regulations though. In March, a bill to allow small carriers to forgo the use of electronic logging devices was filed in the U.S. House’s of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The bill, known as the Small Carrier Electronic Logging Device Exemption Act, would allow carriers with 10 or fewer trucks, including single-truck owner-operators, to return to using paper logs.
The Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC), a non-profit trade organization with more than 8,000 members, filed the request. In their request, the SBTC argued that the ELD mandate isn’t a safety regulation, but rather a tool to determine compliance. In their request they stated, “this rule does not itself impact safety, and that the level of safety will not change based on whether or not our exemption application is approved.”
The published application received over 1,900 comments, with an estimated 95% of them being in favor of the exemption.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did not agree with the argument though and denied the request for exemption. They stated that the SBTC’s application didn’t provide enough evidence that safety would be adequately addressed if they were granted the exemption.
In their decision issued they stated, “FMCSA has analyzed the exemption application and public comments, and has determined that it cannot ensure that granting for the requested exemption would achieve a level of safety equivalent to, or greater than, the level that would be achieved absent such exemption.”
Fleets have had to be compliant with the U.S.’s ELD mandate since December 2017. However, companies that equipped automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs) were allowed a grandfathered clause. They have until December 2019 to switch over to ELDs, a deadline that is quickly approaching. In less than six months the U.S.’s trucking industry will be fully compliant with the ELD mandate, including small truck carriers, now that the exemption request was denied.